Southern Brooklyn

DEC to meet with Greenpoint residents about toxic underground Meeker Ave. Plume

November 30, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
This map, issued by HabitatMap, shows the areas affected by the Meeker Avenue Plume and potential responsible parties. Map courtesy of HabitatMap
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The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will be holding informal discussions with Greenpoint and East Williamsburg residents about their ongoing study of what is called the Meeker Avenue Plume.

The plume is actually several plumes of toxic chlorinated solvents in the soils and groundwater beneath residences and commercial properties. DEC studies show the area’s groundwater and soil have levels of cancer-causing solvents thousands of times the state standard.

The discussions, which have been rescheduled, will be held on Thursday, Dec. 1, from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m.  at the Polish & Slavic Center, 176 Java St. DEC staff will be available to provide information about the study and answer questions.

The plumes are the result of decades of dumping and irresponsible manufacturing practices by dry cleaning and metalworking businesses, DEC says. These include the former Spic and Span Cleaners & Dyers, Klink Cosmo Cleaners, ACME Steel – Metal Works, ACME Steel – Brass Foundry, Lombardy Street Soap and Lacquer Mfg. and Goodman Brothers Steel Drum Co.

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Tests conducted by DEC have confirmed that hazardous vapors from the plumes are seeping into residential properties in the area.

The area currently being investigated is bounded by the former Mobil Brooklyn Refinery/current British Petroleum (BP) Terminal to the north along Norman Avenue and Bridgewater Street, Newtown Creek to the east, Lombardy and Withers Streets to the south and Kingsland (aka Grandparents) Avenue to the west. The elevated Brooklyn-Queens Expressway bisects the site. 

The plumes were discovered in 2005 when the Exxon Mobil Corporation and the New York State Department of Transportation were investigating a massive underground petroleum plume in the same general area. The petroleum spill is one of the largest in the U.S.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 50 oil refineries were located along the banks of Newtown Creek in the late 1800s. Other polluters included petrochemical plants, fertilizer and glue factories, sawmills, and lumber and coal yards.

DEC says it has already installed numerous residential mitigation systems across the area.

Home owners and businesses in the vicinity of the plumes are encouraged by the Newtown Creek Alliance to contact DEC to have their property tested free of charge. To set up an appointment call the NYS Dept. of Health (DOH), 800-458-1158 x27860. If a problem is identified, DOH will install a mitigation system at no cost.

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